Let’s Talk About YES: how to get people involved

Changing attitudes starts with a conversation. If we’re going to move from a “rape culture” to a “consent culture”, we’re going to have to be comfortable talking about sexual consent. If we can get others to join the conversation too, then all the better. So, where can we start? 

Campaigns and sex education might have more meaningful impact if they address the awkwardness of sex and intimacy, rather than pretending it doesn’t exist.

Elsie Whittington, Lecturer in Youth Justice, Manchester Metropolitan University

What does sexual consent look like to you? 

One way to start up conversations about consent is to invite people, including activists, artists and creatives, to share their expressions of what sexual consent looks like to them. You can work on your own creative contribution too. You can use different media and formats:

  • memes
  • comics
  • illustrations
  • photography
  • graphic design
  • digital arts

Or why not try other disciplines, like music, poetry, rap, spoken word, performance art and storytelling? These can be shared anywhere – including social channels like Instagram.

Creators can then share their thoughts to engage other young people in conversations around consent, using the hashtag #LetsTalkAboutYes and other relevant hashtags.

Check out the second blog in our series, “Create content that starts conversations”, for guidance on how to achieve this.

Ask artists, creatives, activists and organizations to join

Do you know any creative people who could be interested in contributing to the campaign? Teachers or sex educators working on the topic? Activists, students or organizations involved or interested in the issue?   

Think of people with different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives who might happily join in. Illustrators, rappers, budding podcasters – we can all come together to create a “consent culture”. Share this blog series, or the full toolkit, to help your contacts along the way. 

Organize events on sexual consent

Events – online and offline – are a great way to generate discussion and promote consent culture. Are you part of a student community, or any other community – youth club, sports team, workplace, migrant centre? Can you identify activists or organizations working on the topic that would be willing to give a talk or take part in a debate or a panel? 

Our next blog, and section 2 of our toolkit, has guidance and practical examples for arranging your own events.  

Run workshops on sexual consent

If you’re already well-informed about the topic, you could even consider running a workshop. Even better if you know a good facilitator and experts on the topic who could support you to run it. Invite people to share their ideas and feelings about consent and create content for the campaign together.

Interested in learning more? You’ll find practical tips and guidance on how to run workshops in the blog “Being a Multiplier”.  

Follow and join online conversations

Short of time? You can still contribute to the culture shift we need. Follow the hashtag #LetsTalkAboutYes and other hashtags related to consent, and simply like, share and comment.

Contribute to online conversations when you feel like it – it makes a difference. Beware of trolls and online harassment, the best strategy is often to ignore them. For other strategies, take a look at this blog post on how to deal with trolls on social media. 

In our next blog in the series, we’ll lay out some guidelines and inspiration for opening up conversations on consent.